the antonym of corn

Corn bread’s in the oven
and yes I ground the seed myself,
absent of nuance
because what’s mundane feeds
and if this is my mask, it was not made
but found; ring-bound features freed
by flint, the way my kin carved spirit masks
from living wood, not cut from the tree
until fully shaped.
The art and the worship of it
was seeing the healing beneath bark
and breaking it out.

If my voice is dark
if my voice is menstrual
remember there is power inside blood
which is why the orthodox won’t taste it
even as it feeds nightmares, and

if I name goddesses
I remember gods too, and that moon
is not so much female as she is awe–
that trapped asteroid
is the closest most get to what’s bigger;
some of us have stood there, hungry
on the surface of that tide-pulling
can’t-nourish-anything stone.


***Victoria is asking us at dVerse to write about our voices, which is something I did here, originally back in January.   Can’t wait to see what the rest of you come up with!

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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52 Responses to the antonym of corn

  1. claudia says:

    very cool images in this susan…love the second to last stanza esp. and also the grounding seeds…the..the carving spirit masks
    from living wood, not cut from the tree
    until fully shaped…. way cool..

  2. annotating60 says:

    I like this much better this time around–tighter and lean.>KB

  3. Wonderful voice you have Susan… and that cornbread sound delicious

  4. Bart Wolffe says:

    There is so much depth and power brooding in this poem. I really love it. Primal, moving, felt.

  5. Susan says:

    …some of us have stood there, hungry
    on the surface of that tide-pulling
    can’t-nourish-anything stone….

    And for us, the corn bread, hic et nunc! So much, you give us so much here–voices of ancestors in the trees, blood of womanhood that is a room of one’s own in some faiths, the pantheon of possibilities in myth and spirit–and your voice pulling it together, bigger than the moon. “The antonym of corn”? I’m not sure. Is it what you make and give vs. what is given you?

    • Hey, Susan, thank you! The antonym of corn is a title coming from that other definition of corn–the slang one–an idea, song, etc, regarded as banal or sentimental.

  6. jeglatter says:

    Hi Susan, I recognize it as exquisitely yours described here. So completely perfect. Wow! (and this is a total aside…I need to work on remembering Gods) Love this!:) (motivated to work and explore and to work some more…also another aside). -Jennifer

  7. Tony Maude says:

    There are so many facets to us as people, and each of them finds its way into the way we express ourselves visually, vocally and graphically. You’ve managed to tease out a number of the influences in your voice, giving those of us who are less sure of where to look – OK, me – some guidance along the way.

    • Interesting way to put that, Tony. This came out naturally, when I was defending my voice/mask/persona, as it were. It is far, far easier to assert what one is NOT than describe what one IS. Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.

  8. heidi says:

    I like the way you use the moon in the last stanza. It is really just wonderful to read and I keep reading it aloud to myself. Beautiful.

  9. brian miller says:

    seeing the healing beneath the bark and breaking it out…this def rings of how history can shape our lives and sounds like you have a good grounding in it as well…cool on making the cornbread and grinding the seed yourself…so much of that kind of practical history gets lost often…

    • History does influence us so much, doesn’t it? If you find the time sometime, read up on how the Iroquois carved their “no face” society masks–the reference comes from there.

  10. Laurie Kolp says:

    Powerful… menstrual voice made me laugh.

  11. A mystical, magical write, pregnant with femininity and wonderful symbolism. There is, indeed, so much power in that blood.

  12. welshstream says:

    A stunning piece of work …. and this line..
    ‘ if this is my mask, it was not made
    but found; ring-bound features freed
    by flint’

    simply immense. There is much power in it that will work away in my mind for some days to come. Excellent

  13. davidtrudel says:

    Great editing, you’ve added awesome to excellence!

  14. dulzimordash says:

    Reblogged this on Nature’s Abhorred Vacuum.

  15. nico says:

    The art and the worship of it
    was seeing the healing beneath bark
    and breaking it out

    Striking images in this–well written! I think we need both, the mundane and the worlds hidden underneath the bark. Nicely done!

  16. I like the words you write are like waves on a sea, beautiful on the surface, but inviting to dive deep and discover the depths of what you are really writing about. You have a great metaphoric voice I always enjoy.

  17. Rowan Taw says:

    So much here to take in…the bark was probably my favourite part (I’m not so familiar with corn bread).

  18. Akila says:

    We dont make our masks we don the ones given to us without a thought yet, every ounce of blood is our own, sans mask, enough to make a noise whether heard or not,,,,a noise nevertheless! Very profound thoughts!

  19. Mary says:

    Your voice is heard loud and clear always, Susan. I love that the moon is not so much female as she is awe. And yes, the cornbread!!


  21. There’s some amazing poetry going on in this- and some gorgeous symbolism for this old feminist.

  22. nelle says:

    Love it. Love. Ground your own? Oh my.

  23. Eston says:

    Susan, there is a depth here that logic can’t penetrate. It’s primal and peppered subliminal. Amazing work. Incidentally, who is Victoria?

    • Eston–first off–thank you! Really appreciate your comment here. Second, Victoria is a poet who contributes at dVerse, an online group I like to frequent for fantastic poetry. They are on my blog roll if you want to check them out. Victoria can be found here. I love her work.

      • Eston says:

        After giving a perfunctory perusal of Victoria’s work, Susan, I’m compelled to posit that YOUR poetry is more piquant and authentic. This is not to say that Victoria is not a gifted writer, it’s just my quasi-professional opinion. “Quasi” being that I no longer work myself to corporate and metaphysical futility in the “professional” literary milieu. Your poetry is raw and unaffected, highly stylized without the pretension of “style”. I could be wrong but that’s grossly improbable. Never stop.

        • Eston, wow, I don’t know what to say but thank you, and that seems rather inadequate. Whatever you do, please keep on writing, because I so enjoy reading your work. That you would say something like the above about mine is humbling and I thank you again for that.

          • Eston says:

            No need to thank me, Susan. In the elitist literary world, “they” would call you a “natural primitive”, meaning genius from obscurity without formal training, essentially. I don’t care for blase terminology (or any labeling for that matter), I only care about the words and yours shine transcendent through heaps of cloying, manufactured drivel. So thank you for your poetic candor. And inadequacies aside, you are always welcome.

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